The Rev. John Hagee, whose endorsement of John McCain has caused headaches for the presumptive Republican nominee because of some controversial statements he has made, retracted one of them this evening.
Hagee, who has also been criticized for his remarks about the Catholic Church, suggested this week that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for a planned gay-pride parade. "What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God," the Texas televangelist told a radio show host. "It was a city that was planning sinful conduct."
"As a believing Christian, I see the hand of God in everything that happens here on earth, both the blessings and the curses," Hagee said in a statement issued through his public relations firm. "But ultimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy. There but for the grace of God go any one of us."
During a Thursday visit to New Orleans neighborhoods still recovering from the hurricane, McCain repudiated Hagee's comments about Katrina. "It's nonsense," he told reporters.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.